Monday, June 13, 2011

Wedding total cost

Here it is, the full kit-n-kaboodle....everything we paid for the wedding, including attire, venue, food, photography and extras.  This list doesn't include my engagement ring, Shaun's shoes, shirt or tie (all of which he needed anyway).  Prepare for an exorbitant number of photos!
Invites: $268.40 including postage
- Paper and More for cardpockets, cardstock, envelopes, rsvp envelopes: $155.87
- Cards and Pockets red invite mats: $24.78
- Postage: $78.75
- Adhesives: $9
Yes, the chairs were plastic - and nobody gave them a second look!  You don't need to upgrade chairs, ladies. 
Ceremony and Reception Hall: $8200 at Hubbard Park Lodge.  This price included everything, plus service fee/gratuity and taxes: Chairs for ceremony, 7 appetizers during cocktail hour, buffet for 85 ppl, open bar all night with premium beers and call liquors, after-dinner appetizers 
Cupcakes: $335 for 200 cupcakes (almond pound cake with almond buttercream frosting, and chocolate with cream cheese frosting) including delivery and set up on my own stands.

Cupcake stands: about $35 from thrift shops and TJ Maxx, that tall tower is a round shelving unit from Goodwill that I spray painted...holla!
Centerpieces: $58.33 for 18 ball jars on ebay, $156 for hydrangeas from Sam's Club. The flowers lasted almost two weeks after the wedding, too!

Table runners: $35 (for 15 turquoise satin runners) on ebay
Votives: $48 (includes cost of Xyron machine, ribbon, votive holders, candles)
Favors/placecards: $180 for 86 mini gumball machines and leftover cardstock for name tags.
Table numbers: $20 for Anne Taintor postcards, used leftover cardstock from invites to assemble.
Card box: $20 for cardboard boxes, ribbons and spray paint
Wedding party and parents flowers: $240 for two bouquets, 4 boutonnieres, 2 corsages - all roses.
Photographers: $1400 for 8 hours with two shooters (that is Sarah in the pic), and engagement session
Music: $160 - I used my computer/itunes, borrowed speaker/soundboard equipment, bought some music on Amazon, and paid hotel and gas for friend to run setup. I would do it again in a heartbeat!!
My dress: $548 including alterations (The Edmonton from Dolly Couture!)
My hair flower: $34 on Etsy...and AWE, golden retriever!!!
My shoes: $32 from
My clutch and wrap: $48, I really wish I hadn't bought these! Hardly used them at you can see by the lack of photos.  ps - I love how my Miller Lite can coordinates with the aqua theme!
Maid of Honor dress: $114 incl shipping from
Shaun's suit: $250 incl alterations from Men's Wearhouse
Best Man suit: $255 incl alterations (they are the same one)
My wedding band: $567
Shaun's wedding band: $56 (just sized his father's old band, which was a gift)
Marriage license and certificate: $110 (as I'm writing this on June 13, we STILL don't have the certificate in the mail!  Another story for another day, my friends!)
Party bus for taking guests back to hotels, and for going to the bar after reception: $335 for 4 hours
Our hotel room: $100
Photo booth setup: $15 gift card given to friend who borrowed me the backdrop frame and umbrella lights. White curtains were mine. Camera, tripod, remotes were mine.
Personalized thank you cards: $117 from

$13,726.73 not including honeymoon

Honeymoon: $3004.13 for 7 nights all-inclusive in Couples Negril (including airfare from Milwaukee)

TOTAL with honeymoon: $16,730.86

** BARF **

Misc notes:

- We paid for the attendant's attire
- We did not have a guest book, that's what the photo booth was for
- My mom paid for my mani and pedi the day before (thanks, mom!)
- My mom did my hair (thanks again, mom!)
- I did my own makeup
- A friend married us for free (obviously he wouldn't charge us!)
- We did get generous gifts from our parents to help with the wedding    costs, but we paid for most of it ourselves.
- We paid about 3k more than I wanted for the venue, but they had a minimum charge that we had to meet, so it was either pay the money or pick a different place. Obviously, this is where all our expense went as the other items are pretty reasonable. If I had to do it over, I would probably pick a different venue for many reasons, mostly because I didn't realize that about half of our invited guests would decline - that made the cost per person pretty ridiculous to meet the minimum charge. Having a wedding with 120 or more guests would have been much easier to swallow! Also, the backup plan for a rainy ceremony was less than ideal - and it was pretty cold that day. I think we could've found a pretty place a little closer to home for less money. However, the place looked great, the food was fab, and I'm happy with almost everything. Just not the hit to our wallet!  At least we have photos like this to remember it by: 


  1. U did such a great job! Everything was gorgeous, enjoyed the breakdown!

  2. Yikes!! Things...and prices...have sure changed since we got married almost 29 years ago!! Our wedding AND honeymoon together(A week in Florida) cost us around $500.00!!! :-)

  3. thanks for this.. I am getting married in August and oh my I love your wedding. Its awsome to have something to compare to as for prices, any other advice you can give? We are trying to do everything under 10,000 including our 3,000 honeymoon, oh boy!

  4. This is a fantastic breakdown Sara! Talk about an informative post :-) I (and I'm sure a bunch of your other unmarried readers!) will definitely be taking notes on this one.

  5. Fabulous! I just love the favors and the placeholders--all the little details were so great!

    We spent far too much on our wedding. In retrospect, we could have bought a much nicer house had we not spent so much. On the other hand, people STILL talk about the band and the dessert table at our wedding :-)

  6. Awesome work re-doing the entire post that Blogger lost!!!! SO worth your time! Okay - this is totally random, but $110 for a marriage certificate?! I would expect to pay WAY less than that!

  7. Wow! I'm amazed you could do so much for that budget! Looks like it was all worth it and you all had a very good time.

  8. love all of the photos and the details! weddings are so expensive, but you did a great job with the budget!

  9. Your wedding was so beautiful!! It's amazing how fast it all adds up, isn't it?? Our grand total was $8k (not including honeymoon), but we did the reception in a church gym to save moolah. We turned off the (obnoxious) overhead lights and did it all by candlelight/spot light. Not the classiest affair but it saved a ton of money for a RIDICULOUS HUGE WEDDING (over 300 guests...that came). Husband's family is ginormous.

    Your wedding was so beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us!!

  10. Your wedding was beautiful! And it looks like you got a TON for your money.

  11. I know the feeling! After our wedding I was totaling up everything and thinking, "Yikes!!" Haha. Your pictures are so gorgeous though and everything looks amazing! It looks like you all had a ton of fun and it's so cozy and inviting from the pictures. =)

  12. You got some amazing deals, way to go!! It looks like your wedding was full of fabulous memories so it's all money well spent in my book!

  13. What a beautiful happy you shared all the nitty gritty. Weddings are so expensive and it looks like you did it on a great budget!

  14. This is about the same as our wedding ended up costing. It sure adds up fast, huh...even with all of the DIY stuff! But it sure seems like it was worth every penny! and your wedding photo's are amaaazing. love love love!

  15. We were married in October. I've yet to receive the copy of our marriage certificate. I'm starting to doubt if we're married.

    Great post. I fell out when I tallied up everything after the wedding. My venue was $6,000 and that included chairs and that was it - so I think you got an amazing deal.

  16. what a gorgeous wedding! that's a great budget to stick to, too! well done!

  17. You are a braze woman! I never totalled up what we spent on our wedding and I don't think I want to. The very idea of that makes me naseous!

  18. Holyoke Home - the state of WI is one of the highest for marriage license fees. They charged us $90 for it in my own city, if we'd gotten it in Milwaukee, it would've been $105!! Then in addition to the license fee, they sock you an extra $20 for a copy of the marriage certificate - which is necessary for things like, oh, changing my name! Thanks, WI.

  19. Amazing wedding! It is gorgeous. I love how perfectly all the colors go together. Considering how much an average wedding is, I think you got a steal! I have a huge family so I am dreading venue expenses!

  20. Wow, your wedding looks like it was amazing and fun! Great pictures. My husband and I had the worst photographer ever and then later lost our wedding pictures. No, I'm not bitter;)

  21. Congratulations Sara! Everything was so beautiful! I loved the venue and you're right about the chairs...we had white folding chairs for our ceremony that got moved to our tented reception. I was so nervous people would be uncomfortable or think we were cheap but renting nicer chairs was between $8-$12/chair for 125 people!! Totally not worth it!

  22. What a gorgeous wedding! The favors, colors, and dresses were ah. maz. ing.

  23. This is the first time I have visited your blog. If I could do my wedding would be this way! So much fun, spunk, and spontenaiety. I am a new follower and happy to have found you! Congratulations on your nuptuals :)

  24. 1. You are FABULOUS.

    2. My social security office accepted a xerox of my marriage certificate.

    3. I love Bealls. My parents do winters in Florida and I adore that freaking place.

  25. Oh girl, ain't no thing but a chicken wing! That is not bad at all and you stretched the money considerably. I have friends who spent 30 to 40,000 on their weddings without batting an eye. Your big day turned out beautifully!!!

  26. Sara, your wedding was beautiful, and it looks like you and your guests had lots of fun! Congrats!

  27. I even got a little choke up while reading this - everything looks fantastic - and most of all, the people! You still put on what appears to be a fantastic event for a good price (relatively speaking....don't people tend to spend so much more? I wouldn't know)

  28. Absolutely, over-the-top impressed! Wow, that is amazing - what a beautiful event and what a great cost!

  29. Always interesting to see what people paid for their wedding!! Even though it sucks you had to pay that much for the venue (which DID look great), at least you were able to save on a lot of other things by DIY-ing. And it all looked FABULOUS! That awesome photo booth will make it a day that everyone remembers fondly, not just you two!

  30. Look at you! Thanks for sharing even though you obviously didn't have to! You had a fun wedding girl! Congrats, again!!!

  31. So beautiful! I love the colors! So many unique ideas

  32. I know I'm a little late to the party, but I have to comment to say that you did a fantastic job! It totally looks like a $25,000 wedding and was obviously bursting with your personality. Yay!

  33. **BARF**

    Girl, you crack me up.

    Thanks for the breakdown. You've almost inspired me to do this post, although I'll probably wait until we have ALL of the pictures. Your wedding cost isn't bad at all. If it makes you feel any better, we ended up spending almost twice what we had naively estimated at first. **BARF** Post coming soon (which in my world, could mean sometime in the next month).

    The important thing is that your guests had a kick-A time and everyone looked awesome doing so! And that you're not in crippling debt as a result of it, which it doesn't sound like you are. And of course that you got married to your sweetheart. :)

    Awesome wedding! I still wish I'd had the money to come crash it.

  34. Seriously, though? I was supposed to get married 5 years ago and 16 grand is only 2,000 more than just our venue and food was going to cost us. For realz. That wouldn't have included any of the bridal party costs, hotel fees, invites, table crap, flowers, etc... Shit, just the cake I wanted was going to be like 1,300. It was a loose Alice and Wonderland theme with toppling layers and big iridescent pearls at the base of each layer. So fun, but soooo pricey!

    Everything looked amazing and I am so happy for you.


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